In a time fraught with political turbulence and cultural unease, having a voice has never felt so important. For Habibi this comes at a crucial moment. The quintet just released ‘Cardamom Garden’ their first EP in over four years; significantly, the first one with lyrics recorded in Farsi. This new direction has been a long time coming for the band who are acutely aware of music as both a natural part of their heritage and a representation of their own identity: “Middle Eastern culture is very heavily influenced by the arts,” shares Iranian-American lead singer Rahill Jamalifard. The EP combines her culture’s flair with a finely tuned vocabulary of widely appealing tracks structured in a new pop approach: engaging and highly danceable while eschewing typical formulas.
Featuring three original songs, and a Farsi cover of 60s classic “Green Fuz,” 'Cardamom Garden' was recorded in Brooklyn and mastered by Heba Kadry (Björk, Slowdive, Future Islands). Bringing their sound even closer to its middle-eastern roots is Tehran-born Yahya Alkhansa, who contributed tonbak percussions.
Both Jamalifard and Habibi guitarist Lenny Lynch originate from Detroit, although neither met until both were living and playing shows in the local Brooklyn scene, where they intuitively fostered a shared connection over their love of Middle Eastern psych music. The two recruited Karen Isabel (drums) and Leah Beth Fishman (bass), fellow musicians who were also friendly through the same DIY music hub, though both also had roots as far away as Puerto Rico before all landing in the common ground of New York City. They were quick to receive critical accolades, with their self-titled 2013 full-length debut heralded by The New Yorker as “stunning.”
“I see you walkin', walkin’ down Woodward / tryin’ to catch a ride,” Jamalifard sings in live favorite “Detroit Baby,” a reference to an avenue in the Detroit of their youth that could similarly apply to the place in Ridgewood, New York where she currently resides, or any other street in America or across the globe. Habibi have proven to be capable of showcasing authentically crafted music that is both uniquely its own yet able to traverse borders in its overarching appeal. This ethos is clear even in the band’s chosen name: “Habibi” translated to English means “my love”-a universal language that makes them easy to embrace.
Afropop Worldwide - Jul. 5th, https://bit.ly/2REcxZV
Billboard - Jul. 11th, https://bit.ly/2L0WSn7 "Empowering"
Brooklyn Vegan - Mar 27th, https://bit.ly/2Nyp3XG "Four new slices of catchy garage-psych"
Chicago Reader - Feb. 5th, https://bit.ly/2QEOid0 "Spellbinding (...) Don't sleep on this one."
Chirp Radio - Jun. 27th, https://bit.ly/2CDqenM
Consequence of Sound - Mar. 27th, https://bit.ly/2C6jgqe
Galerie Magazine - Jul. 2nd, https://bit.ly/2tPBQOn
Hullaballoo - Jan. 24th, https://bit.ly/2QGPj4h "Something that keeps me up at night is how many nice things we might have if the large majority of the world’s non-male, non-white people had not been silenced throughout most of history. (...) Nedayeh Bahar, which translates to “Song For Spring” in Farsi, reminds me to honor the voices I never got to hear, and celebrate and amplify the ones emerging today."
Hyperallergic - Jul. 3rd, https://bit.ly/2E9gjrJ "This is a show you definitely won’t want to miss."
i-D - Jan. 22nd, https://bit.ly/2pHelVs "Like the self-titled effort that precedes it, this three-track EP is full of charged-up garage rhythms and infectious hooks. But here, they interact with elements of Middle Eastern psych. The results are unexpected, exciting, and, as always, catchy as hell."
Indie Shuffle - Jan. 23rd, https://bit.ly/2NyGuaK ""Nedayeh Bahar" (...) is a hypnotic slice of psychedelic, '60s-inspired pop along the lines of famous American acts such as The Shangri-Las and The Ronettes."
Interview - Jan. 22nd, https://bit.ly/2PpLQXw "There’s a million bands from Brooklyn—but only one that blends psych-rock riffs with girl group harmonies in lead singer Rahill Jamalifard’s native tongue, Farsi. Back with a third EP this March, Habibi is more polished than ever and focused on using their music to make a radical point."
Jam in The Van - Feb. 13th, https://bit.ly/2yadsJH
LA Weekly - Jan. 29th, https://bit.ly/2Od4NjA "There are a lot of groups these days that are drawing from the garage-rock and ’60s psychedelic-pop well, but Habibi transform these influences into something much more powerfully engrossing and strange on their recent EP."
Lenny Letter - Mar. 12th, https://bit.ly/2pKK8EN "In the simplest words: Habibi knows how to write songs that stick."
Madewell - Jun. 1st, https://bit.ly/2EabZZl "You know the kind of songs that get stuck in your head but are so good you don’t even mind? Rahill Jamalifard, lead singer of the ’60s-inspired rock quartet Habibi, has a knack for writing them."
Metro.us - Jun. 20th, https://bit.ly/2OdILNI
Milk.xyz - Jul. 13th, https://bit.ly/2yb2fID "Habibi is taking NYC by storm, and their latest video, an Iranian TV-inspired montage for “Gypsy Love”, is just the icing on the cake of a successful AF year for the Brooklyn-based rock and roll crew."
Monster Children - May 25th, https://bit.ly/2y9lbru
New York Music Daily - Jul. 28th, https://bit.ly/2C98uQi "From their brief, Arabic-tinged instrumental intro through a mix of Breeders jangle, Ventures stomp and Farsi funk, they’re developing an intriguing, distinctive sound. Give the rhythm section a year to get their chops up to speed, and this band could be dangerous."
NPR Weekend Edition - Mar. 18th, https://n.pr/2MZEA3w "The band's newest EP, Cardamom Garden, houses lyrics that move seamlessly between English and Farsi."
Oyster Magazine - Jan. 22nd, https://bit.ly/2IKgisK "They’re not your average New York girl band (...) - think The 13th Floor Elevators meets The Shangri-Las."
Paste - Jun. 8th, https://bit.ly/2ON31oJ
Pitchfork - Jan. 23rd, https://bit.ly/2yao23s "The Brooklyn-based quintet Habibi’s songs are pulse-quickening, infused with the glistening reverie of 1960’s psych-pop. (...) “Nedayeh Bahar” feel expansive and luxurious, allowing space for both their personal observations and cultural identities."
Pitchfork - Mar. 24th, https://bit.ly/2MEYdB2 "Cardamom has the rare ability to transcend culinary classification, adding a rounded depth to savory curries and roasts while also floating to the forefront of sugary desserts. The Brooklyn-based quintet Habibi’s new EP has a similar malleability: It’s full of music that blends cultures, languages, and genres, with charming and intriguing results, (...) shedding rigid definitions of what constitutes American music on the way to the band’s future."
Post-Trash - Apr. 6th, https://bit.ly/2IQbKRS "Habibi offer a refined take on indie pop, creating a rich product, something poignant and uplifting in its celebratory blend."
Relix - Apr. 2nd, https://bit.ly/2OgeLkf "It was a special night. Not only for the mostly-female audience, but for the all-female band, Habibi too."
Repeat Magazine - May 28th, https://bit.ly/2C8csZq "Cardamom Garden is a smoother production while their debut album had a certain garage lo-fi punk attitude to it, but never missing the catchy pop melody, the cool surf-guitar hook and the dreamy group vocals."
Skin Deep - May 17th, https://bit.ly/2IKR91a
Sourdoreille - Feb. 27th, https://bit.ly/2pIRjgO "Entre surf-music tout droit sorti des 60’s, mélodies orientales et ballades amoureuses."
Time Out Beijing - Apr. 17th, https://bit.ly/2yBbPUT
That’s Mag - Apr. 18th, https://bit.ly/2Ea7WMl
The 405 - Jan. 24th, https://bit.ly/2Ec7cq3
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